Ortt joins other officials in promoting ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ campaign
Press Release, State Sen. Rob Ortt
LEWISTON – In a joint effort to promote social acceptance and inclusiveness of individuals of all abilities, State Senator Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda), Senator Chris Jacobs and Assemblyman Angelo Morinello teamed up with Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro for his ThinkDIFFERENTLY campaign.
Launched by Molinaro in 2015, the community-wide ThinkDIFFERENTLY initiative aims to break down barriers and support those living with autism and other developmental or intellectual disabilities.
The campaign promotes community inclusiveness by encouraging elected leaders, neighborhoods, businesses, and organizations to think differently about how they interact with individuals with special needs.
“This campaign draws attention to mental health disorders and disabilities while encouraging open dialogue and eliminating stigma in communities,” said State Sen. Rob Ortt, who is chairman of the Senate’s Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Senate Committee. “It challenges elected officials and community members to think differently about those who are differently abled. I’m proud to work with County Executive Molinaro and my colleagues in the legislature to help promote awareness, education and social acceptance in Western New York through the ThinkDIFFERENTLY campaign.”
Friday’s ThinkDIFFERENTLY event brought together people with developmental disabilities and their families, experts from provider agencies, local and state officials, and other professionals from various local agencies that specialize in services for those with special needs. The campaign encourages collaboration between organizations and community leaders to find new ways to embrace, support, and respect individuals with disabilities.
Dutchess County Executive Molinaro said, “I’ve been thrilled by the response to our ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ efforts over the past two years, and I appreciate the cities, towns and villages throughout our state which have accepted our call to change hearts and minds. I thank Sen. Ortt for his willingness to ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ to ensure every individual of every ability has a community that welcomes them and supports them.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recent estimates in the U.S. show about one in six children, ages three through 17, have one or more developmental disability.
The ThinkDIFFERENTLY campaign is a continuation of Senator Ortt’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the state’s laws and support of people with disabilities. This initiative builds on his commitment as the chairman of the State Senate Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities to ensure that the well-being of one of the most vulnerable populations is protected.
People Inc.’s Associate Vice President Mary Petrakos said, “This campaign falls in line with People Inc.’s commitment to foster independence, dignity and respect for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in an inclusive community. We’re thrilled to support Senator Ortt and County Executive Molinaro in their efforts that we believe will allow these individuals to gain a greater sense of confidence and accomplishment.”